KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — Barisan Nasional and Umno lawmakers have all decided to support Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for his bid to be the next prime minister.
The lawmakers decided this after an Umno supreme council meeting and another among BN MPs tonight.
Padang Besar MP Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin confirmed the unanimous decision when met following the later meeting.
“The candidate is clean and from Umno. It was unanimous.
“The president will make an announcement on the candidate. What is important is that he is clean and does not have any cases that could cast doubt on his credibility,” he told reporters as he was leaving Umno headquarters at Menara Dato’ Onn here at about 11.15pm.
However, it has since been reported that it would be Ismail Sabri.
Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin also confirmed that all of the coalition’s lawmakers were in agreement on the matter.
“Unanimous,” he said without stopping to address the media.
When asked to confirm whether Ismail Sabri was indeed the chosen candidate, Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman answered affirmatively.
Pengerang MP and Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said also said it was “most agreeable” that Ismail Sabri be picked based on the latter’s credentials.
“The supreme council gave the MPs the mandate and the BN MPs decided to support one individual.
“We’ve been briefed that BN has a set of partners to cross the finishing line in terms of the number 111.
“Yes, because he was technically next highest (in the party hierarchy) with our party’s president and he was also the deputy prime minister. In that sequence, he looks most agreeable to us,” he said.
Earlier, the supreme council members and Umno MPs arrived in droves for the meeting called to discuss their preferred prime minister candidate.
This morning, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun issued a notice instructing all MPs to submit in writing to Istana Negara their candidate for the next prime minister before 4pm tomorrow.
Azhar in the letter said this is in accordance with Article 43 (2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.
An audience with the Agong today was also held involving leaders of various political parties to discuss the identity of the next prime minister, following Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation yesterday.